Adam Caldwell is another fantastic artist who will be showing some pieces at the Empty Kingdom Summer Show NEXT MONTH! His art draws into attention consumption, spirituality, sexuality, nature and our role whether as a part or separate from it. Check out his interview:
How long have you been painting? What about painting makes you come alive, what is your favorite part?
I’ve been painting since about 1994 when I started art school. I’ve been painting seriously as an attempted career since 2006. Painting allows me to look back and see my work and my thinking. Each painting is like a memory of my actual movements in space. They are traces like the marks left on the ice by a skaters performance.
What different emotions and meaning do Abstract Expression and Classical Figuration hold for you? How did you decide to blend the two? And how has your melange of the two evolved over time? What elements of each have you toyed with, abandoned, or become fixated on?
Abstract painting is the honest expression of the material nature of the paint itself. Its viscosity, it’s depth, it’s color, etc. Classical painting is its potential to transform into light and surface, into depth and atmosphere. I haven’t found how to make the two work really, but I think its that tension and lack of resolve that makes it all interesting.
You mention that you are deeply concerned about the world around you, that your work reflects your reaction to social issues, what social issues are you most passionate about? How polarized do you think your stance is on these issues?
I think the most pressing current issues are and have always been the ripples on the surface of the great, deep pools of human ignorance, fear, and arrogance. The circumstances change and evolve with the times, but our minds don’t change. Artists are constantly addressing social issues in their work, calling attention to problems in the world.
Do you think this actually helps resolve these problems? Do you think calling attention and discussing an issue is enough? What real world affect is perpetuated by discussion and attention?
There are issues, such as consumerism that can be diminished simply by conversation, if you can convince someone to buy less crap, but what about war, how can a piece of art change the military industrial complex that employs hundreds of thousands of Americans? I have no idea! I don’t think that painting is very effective as a tool of mass information and change. It’s day in that role is over. I think film and video are better suited to that role. If a piece of art can slow down the glut of images for a second and help you look a little deeper and slower, That might result in some deeper thinking about an issue.
Tell us about the pieces you’re bringing to the show, what is the emotion behind them? What are they addressing?
They are both about the splitting of mind and body. They evoke the effects in history and the environment of separating man/nature, spirit/matter, male/female. Especially in Western thought and philosophy.
Do you need to be in a certain headspace to work? Do you work on multiple pieces at the same time or simply focus on one? Do you ever get burnt out on a piece, and what do you do to keep working and being productive?
I have a nice studio space filled with books and music. I have to drink tea before I work. Once a series is going I put all the pieces on the walls and work on them all in spurts. I break up my process so one piece is being carefully rendered, one is in a drawing stage, another is being glazed, that way I don’t get too crazy bored or frustrated. I can always move on to another piece.
You have a community of artists that you are surrounded by, that sounds incredibly useful. How did you become a part of that community? How do you help each other and how do you think other artists could band together to form similar communities?
I just met artists as I began showing and we help each other with problems and give support when we can. I think it just happens organically. It can’t be orchestrated or anything.
What is your favorite piece that you own and where in your house/workspace is it? What do you like so much about it?
I have some paintings that have been in my family for years, they were on the walls of my father’s house. They remind me of him.